Thursday, January 18, 2007

Day 4 : Pattadakal

12/10/2006 - 12:00 PM

Pattadakal is 24kms from Aihole and 29kms from Badami, situated on the left bank of the river-Malaprabha. Pattadakal a world heritage centre has 10 major temples representing early chalukyan architecture.

Although rainy season a clam river that conceals more than it reveals. The grass "lawn" is slightly unkempt, and littered with wild flowers.

# The Galaganatha Temple was built during 750 AD, by Vikramaditya II. The tower of this temple is beautiful.

# Virupaksha Temple - The biggest temple here is deidicated to Virupaksha. Enclosed in a large quadrangle surrounded by small cells, it has a massive gateway and inscriptions. Besides from the Ramayana and Mahabaratha, there is a beautiful carving that would look like an elephant from one side and a buffalo form the other. In front of the temple is a majestic 2.6 metre tall Nandi.In contrast to the pink-tinged sandstone, the Nandi is made of deep green stone and is covered by a red floral cape. The Virupaksha temple is still used for worship.

# The Mallikarkuna and Papanatha temples are delicately carved and rich in details. The Papanatha temple is guarded by Nandi and Virabhadra. There are 16 pillars in themain enclosure. These temples represent chief style of indian architecture and the social life of those days.

In contrast to Aihole were every temple has a tank - a water source, adjacent to it, temples in Pattadakal are on the bank of the river; and on the bank of a lake @ Badami.
Just clicked all I saw into my biscuit sized Nikon. By this time, I had turned spellbound with saturation!

12/10/2006 - 2:30PM -

This was the only place where we saw a crowd waiting to get into to the Temple...Badami was just 4kms away. The temple houses uniquely carved lighiting towers and the biggest tank (which was totally dry).

At Mahakoota again we get to see temples of the Chalukyan tenure. Mahakoota was the centre of Shaivism during the period. The most fascinating is them twin fresh water tanks.

Day 4 : Badami

To know a place,

" The best way is to breathe it.
The next best way is to walk it!" - And so we did the entire day

Badami is famous for its cave temples all hewn out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill. Badami also has eighteen inscriptions ranging from the sixth to the sixteenth century.

We could see lots of Backpackers around - we were nearing the cave temples. And the gigantic caves just emerged, turning us awestruck!

Rock-cut cave temples, gateways, forts, inscriptions, sculptures that seem to come alive under your eyes… Badami has to be seen to be believed. These date back to 543 AD. Climb a flight of steps to reach the ancient caves. The capital of the Early Chalukyas, Badami (also known as Vatapi), is picturesquely situated at the mouth of a Ravine between two rocky hills.

There are four caves here. The 1st one dedicated to Shiva, 2nd and 3rd to Vishnu and 4th to Jain. The first three belonging to the Vedic faith and the fourth to the Jainism.

# Enter the first cave temple past Shiva's door keepers and there he is !

Nataraja : The first cave temple; one can see the eighteen-armed Nataraja striking 81 styles of Barathanaya. We get see a smiling Lord Shiva accompanied by Lord Ganesha and Karthikeya with musical instruments. Master Piece!!

# Vishnu : The second cave temple, dedicated to Vishnu. Spotted some carvings of Narasimha, Narayana, Shesha and others. Built by Pulakeshi I - we get to see carvings of Ardhanarishwara, Varaha and Mahishasuramardhini.

# The largest and most ornamental is the third cave temple dedicated to Vishnu. The Sheshasai Vishnu is a 15 ft carving. The style is described to be a model of coronation festival of Chalukyas. Here are some splendid carvings of the Hindu Pantheon. Narasimha the half-man half Lion avatar of Vishnu Hari Hara, the composite god who is half-Shiva and half-Vishnu. Vishnu Narayana sitting as well as reclining on the snake Shesh or Ananta (Eternity )… There are also some painting on the ceiling and wonderful bracket figures on the piers.

# A little to the east of this shrine, on top of a cliff is a Jain temple. Here you will find many Jain deities and a huge figure of Parshwanatha. This Buthanatha temple, lends its name to the lake beneath.

Overlooking the cave temples is a reservoir dotted with temples dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva. At the foot of the caves and on the way to the lake, is the Archaeological Museum.

After the fall of Chalunkyan empire, Badami was occupied by Rashtrakutas, Vijaynagar rule and finally by Tippu Sultan. The fort wall and watch towers built during Tippu Sultan can be seen to this day, entry into which is prohibited.

Since its carved out of red stone, it was most colorful and photographically mory gratifying. The colour and grandeur of the sand stone carvings lasts undisturbed in mind forever. The 'day' dawn till dusk would remain etched for ever.

The caves are a surreal experience!

One of the wisest things we had done in the recent past. Scenic refuge from urban chaos, it really was....

From childhood had a very whimsical fancy for getting myself photographed in a Sunflower garden. I did, and to my dismay, it turned into a source for all malice. :-)

As the day came to an end. We headed towards Hospet.

Day 5 : Hampi

13/10/2006 : 6:30 AM : Hampi

The scenic drive towards the heritage sites started at 6:30 AM; first stroke of dawn was romaticized by a light drizzle.

Hampi is a short 13km drive from Hospet. Crossing canals and green fields.

The first few minutes went in swirll of crowds and then the main temple followed by the 'garbha gudi' and circum abugations...and the magic set in....

Unlike all these days, noisy tourists, Souvenir shops, historic Post-office and stamps and postcards, whirrs and clicks of the cameras....

Hampi was founded in the middle of 14th century by Hakka and Bukka', learnt at school. You can still glimpse the pomp and vigor, the wealth n splendor, art and architecture, magnificence and opulence of Vijaynagar in its ruins.The city was looted, sacked, burnt and destroyed in 1565 AD, by the Muslim rulers. Rocky hills and the mighty TungaBhadra River, which flows through the rugged landscape; One can imagine the splendor and richness of Vijaynagar, from the remains and ruins, spread over 26 kms. One of the largest empires in the history of India!

1] With entering Hampi, you see some Mohammadean tombs, which displays 'Bahamani' style of architecture.

2] Sasivekaalu Ganesh : A 2.5 mt tall molithic Ganesha, which dates back to 1506 AD, is just marvelous.

3] Hemakuta group of Temples. Hemakuta hills has a scattering of early ruins.

4] Virupaksha Temple is the main Temple of attraction and the only place where pooja is performed even to this day. There is a magnificent shrine dedicated to Virupaksha the deity of the Vijaynagar rulers. The temple encloses a Raaga mantapa, Sabha mantapa, Kalyana mantapa & a kitchen, apart from the sanctum sanctorum. The pillared Raaga mantapa is beautifully painted. The temple is flocked and spoilt by human activity, which is visible by the very signs. The inverted image of the gopura on the wall, is admirable. A narrow stream of River Tungabhadra flows besides the temple, which then descends through the kitchen of Virupaksha Temple.

5] The Virupaksha Bazaar or Hampi Bazaar, which runs 32m wide and 728m long, with shop like structures on either side, build using stone. Hampi Bazar : a market place, where fairs were held.

6] KadalekaLu Ganesha

7] The magnificent monolithic Nearby is the 6.7mt tall monolith LakshmiNarasimha; the coils of Adishesha; the seven hood as canopy.....just makes one spellbound. This had a huge arch-Kirthimukha torana covering made of Sandle-wood, which was set ablaze by the Muslim rulers. The four arms of the statue as well his consort, goddess Lakshmi has been destroyed. Unimaginable!

8] Badavilinga Temple : The gigantic Shiva Linga is located next to LakshmiNarasimha. It is 3 mt high and stands submerged in water, which flows through a ancient canal.

9] Uddana Virabhadra Temple, houses a 16ft tall sculpture.

10] Chandikeshwara Temple

11] Akka-Tangi Guddha

12] Prasanna Virupaksha aka Underground ShivaLinga - the roof of which is at the ground level. The temple houses a Garbhagriha, Antarala, Ardhamantapa, Mahamantapa and Dwajastanbha.

13] Administration Block

14] Mohammadan Watch Tower, Band Tower, Mosque - Cannons and watch towers...

15] Mint enclosure

16] Hazara Rama Temple

17] Zenana Enclosure - is enclosed by tall structural walls. The enclosure houses a Treasury, Queens residence, JalMahal, Lotus Mahal, Watch Tower, The museum is heart felting, but potography prohibited, with the ancient picture in grey and the present day picture in multi colours, a comparitive study.

18] Lotus mahal - This two storeyed structure with recessed archways, opening to the sun like petals of Lotus, dates back to 16th century, is located in the Zenana enclosure. Here's a integration of Hindu and Islamic style of architecture.

19] Elephant Enclosure - The Elephant stables have arched entrances and domes.

20] Hazara Rama Temple : lies at the heart of the royal centre, with finely carved pillars, depicting incarnations of Vishnu . The exteriors of the temple have sculptures illustrating Ramayana.

21] Royal Enclosure - is the biggest of all, spanning an area of 59 thousand sq. m. The massive audience hall, ornamental doors, Public Bath and the Mahanavami Dibbha where Dasara was celebrated for all 10 days. The Mahanaami Dibbha is a 3 tired stone platform.

22] Queen's Bath - situated in the citadel area, this is a large pentagonal structue, with plain exterior and very ornate interior. The bath is 15 sq and 1.8m deep. It is surrounded by delicately arched corridors and balconies. The lotus shaped fountain is just mesmerizing! The entire structure is protected by a wide, deep moat.

23] Octogonal Bath

24] Vithala Temple - The most splendid is undoubtly the Vithala Temple. The 56 pillars in the main hall produce musical notes when struck. We went on moving from grandeur to grandeur, chamber to chamber, despite the bustle of everyday life.The sculpture here is just incredible. This is relatively in good state. The outer pillars are known as the 'Musical Pillars'. The temple houses the well known 'Stone Chariot', in the courtyard - which has carved stone wheels which revolve. 56 musical pillars, each producing a unique sound. Underground temple, and Kalyana, Bhajana, Sabha, Nirutya, Kitchen, Utsava.

25] The king's Balance - where the king was weighed.

26] Achuta Raya Temple : The Tirvengalanatha temple built during the reigh of Achuta Deva Raya is know by the name of the ruler. The temple is in ruins. Old stone bridge across TB river.

Untiring tourists....
The air of mystic clings to it.

Mango Tree - wispering plaintains and other trees set in a lush serene plot of the lakeshore in luxurious and elegant without being opulent. We were in need of bland and boring food. withing minutes we were rattling the spoons against the plates. Hampi was the only place where were saw lot many foreign backpackers, tours and traders, all haggling, quarrelling, bargaining and negotiating. Never miss a visit at this restaurant while @ Hampi.

Temperature was dipping and the sun was slowly going down the horizon, i stood there with my camera poised; clouds played a prank. It was not a shoppers/collectors route. Just got the tourist brochure cliche to file-up.

With the end of the day, ended the trip, but the sight would stay etched in mind.

Towards Mysore....

200km of more potholes than road. the heart throbbing in my mouth Back to NH4. We were welcomed to NH4 by pitter-patter of rain on the glass. Blessed! :-) The roads are a dream come true! So what if the driving is a bit aggressive. This was the most excited of all days, the much awiated, planned and draemt, but realized, my imaginations were not even in par with those structures. Interesting tid-bits from history. Familiar yet EXOTIC, brethless sights they were...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Shivanasamudra owns the credit for hosting the first hydroelectric project in India. Kaveri splits into two branches, then onto a valley, cascading down rocky cliffs at Gaganachukki and Bharachukki and re-unites downstream. These waterfalls are surrounded by the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.

Shivanasamudra can be approached either via Bangalore – Mysore highway. A left turn at Maddur and few kms drive via Malavalli, you hit NH209, continue driving until you hit Shivanasamudra on your left. Gaganachukkia and Barachukki are a 15 min drive apart.


The Gaganachukki which is 98 m tall,houses Asia's first hydro-electric power stations.It was here, where hydroelectric power was harnessed for the second time(after Darjeeling) in Asia and the electricity thus produced was used in the Gold Mines of Kolar. Thus, Kolar Gold Fields became the first city in Asia to get hydro electricity. The Gaganachukki itself has 2 facades, the western facade and the eastern facade. Thus, One can view these waterfalls from the Hydro Power viewing end and the Dargah end.


The Bharachukki is about a kilometer away from the Dargah. and has a wider cascading edge. Fewer visitors are kept informed and equipped - thus a thinner crowd. A flight of 100 and odd steps down the rocky ravine, takes you to the base. Scintillating view indeed.


'A tiny village , made of vast stretches of sand dunes, and a river flowing through it'. Unbelievable! It stands at a sharp bend of the Kaveri river eastwards from a southerly course, with sand covering around 850 acres. Talakad, reminds me of our rich cultural past. Placed amidst vast paddy fields, are five shiva temples, known as 'Panchalinga'. Getting a glimpse of the five lingas spread around is believed auspicious. Thus the adventure....

'We felt like the, ship of the desert, walking through the sand dunes. Scorching hot sun was ignored by our high spirits'.

Vaidyeshwara, Pataleshwara, Maruleshwara at Talakad, Arkeshwara at Vijapura, and Mallikarjuna at Mudukuthore are the imporhtant counts. As it is with every historic place, this too was ruled by different dynasties; Ganges in 246AD, Cholas in 11th century; A hundred years later by Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana; By Vijaynagar kings in 16th century and then by Wadiyar's of Mysore. Its said that, around 30 plus temples still lay buried underneath the sand dunes!

# Vaidyeshwara temple built in Dravidian style, is from the Cholas, with ornamented sculptures of Granite; with Colossal dwarapalakas adoring the entrance.

# Pathaleshwara is comparitively small, located in excavated pit, dating back to 10th century, built by Ganges. The linga here
is said to change colour to red in the morning, into black in the afternoon and white by evening!!

# Maruleshwara temple is also located in the excavated pit and has a 5ft tall linga.

# Arkeshwara temple is built by Vijaynagar kings and has a row of lingas.

# Mallikarjuna temple in Mudukuthore is situated on a small hillock and dates back to the period of Ganges.

The Talakad sand dunes are protected by the Karnataka state archaeological department.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Namoora Kerae

Karanji, Kukkarahalli & Linganbudhi are the 3 lakes in Mysore.

Linganbudhi is just a few yards away from my place. The developing lake or the less
maintained of the three.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


The first 45 min, of the 3 hour rail route from Mysore to Bangalore is something which should be experienced.
Srirangapatanam....16km from Mysore [enroute SH17]

History and Tippu apart...
I always waited for those minutes, when the train crossed the bridge, over River Cauvery. It should be felt standing by the door of your Bogie, minus the warnings received at home. [ not to stand there. ;-)]

Calculate the velocity of the train...

Sugarcane and Paddy fields
Approx. 75 kmph
Slower now as its approaching the bridge.
The fort and part of the temple can be seen.
This temple of Sri Ranganatha, the largest in Karnataka. His consorts, Sridevi and Bhudevi, are replaced by Godess Kaveri, at the feet of the lord.

Its still Winter and the River is thin.
If you have watched Dhoom II, the previous day, your adrenalin would push you to, exhibit some dare devilary [heard from a fellow passenger ;-)]


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